INCREASED ACCESS: clockwise from left: a student participates in an audio described performance at Te Matatini 2023; Christine Harvey facilitates a session in the Awe Māreikura programme at Christchurch Women’s Prison; and Lily Mae Ivatt Oakley in Charlotte Nightingale's digital, multisensory work called Spark

When the Government invests in the arts it’s important that everyone benefits. To this end, Manatū Taonga’s Regeneration Fund is supporting Arts Access Aotearoa to deliver four projects – all aimed at increasing inclusion by providing accessible resources, and training for artists, organisations and advocates.

These resources and training will future-proof standards and increased engagement. The four parts of this one-year funding are: 

  • a project to develop disability-led responsiveness training workshops for the arts sector
  • a project to develop and provide resources and information in accessible formats, supporting Deaf and disabled artists to develop their arts practice
  • a project to provide accessibility grants to arts organisations to increase their accessibility, and to Deaf and disabled artists and arts workers to support their career development
  • a project to enhance the wellbeing of people in corrections facilities through participation in arts programmes.

As you’d expect, Arts Access Aotearoa needs more specialist staff to deliver these Regeneration Fund projects over the next 12 months.

Each of the projects has specific outcomes, based around increased access and participation in the arts and culture. They are also built around the provision of greatly needed resources.

Training for up to eight Deaf or disabled people

So, for example, the project to develop disability-led responsiveness training includes professional development for up to eight Deaf or disabled people to facilitate these workshops in partnership with Arts Access Aotearoa.

In a survey, all of the Arts For All Network members who responded said they would use disability-led, arts-specific responsiveness training and believed it would result in more sustained accessibility for their organisations.

Another project is developing resources and information for Deaf and disabled artists in accessible formats such as Easy Read, large print and New Zealand Sign Language to support their career development and provide more equitable opportunities. This will include guides on topics such as funding, intellectual property rights and promotion.

A third project providing resources responds to the needs of practitioners in the Arts in Corrections sector. Currently, a dozen artists are leading the high standard of arts delivery across New Zealand’s prisons but this is not sustainable in the long-term.

With this funding, Arts Access Aotearoa will produce resources and hold wānanga to build a new cohort of artists with the necessary skills to deliver arts projects in prisons, youth justice facilities and Community Corrections.

Professional development for creative spaces sector

In 2021, the Government through Manatū Taonga delivered an $18 million package over three years to support the creative spaces sector. Part of the funding is for Arts Access Aotearoa to deliver a Professional Development Programme, which included  an online conference for the sector in November 2022. It also includes workshops, webinars and other resources aimed at strengthening the capability of the creative spaces sector.

Then in 2022, Manatū Taonga partnered with the Department of Corrections and provided $3 million of funding for Arts in Corrections programmes. Called the Creative Arts and Cultural Wellbeing Prison Initiative, it will enable a dozen outstanding programmes to be delivered over two to three years: for example, the Awe Māreikura programme at Christchurch Women’s Prison and music therapy at Hawkes Bay Regional Prison.

There are two particularly good things about this initiative. Firstly, the programmes run from 2023 to 2025, which means their impact will be longer-term. And secondly, a research company is evaluating every programme throughout that period.

Meaningful data about impact of arts in prisons

This evaluation will provide meaningful data about the impact of the arts and creative expression on men and women in New Zealand prisons. This will provide the first-of-its-kind evidence of the value of arts programmes in New Zealand prisons and the reason for future investment.

I believe it’s an exciting time for the Arts in Corrections sector and our former Arts in Corrections Advisor, Chris Ulutupu, worked hard to see this partnership fund established. His career as an artist is taking off and he is currently the artist in residence at Tylee Cottage in Whanganui. Thank you, Chris, for all your energy, relationship-building skills and good humour.

Programmes Assistant Milly Hampton is Acting Arts in Corrections Advisor until we have filled the role. We’re looking for someone with experience as a navigator or advisor in a community and/or public service sector; confidence in te ao Māori; and excellent communication and relationship skills. For more information and to apply

Finally, I would like to thank all of Arts Access Aotearoa’s funders, sponsors and supporters. Without your support, we couldn’t deliver all our programmes, fellowships and advocacy to increase access to the arts for everyone in Aotearoa.








Investing in resources to increase access to the arts


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